Lorenzana: PH uninformed of Chinese warships passing through Sibutu Strait

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Chinese warships have passed through Philippine waters in the south without informing the government, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 25) — Chinese warships have passed through Philippine waters in the south without informing the government, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday.

"There were four instances when there were Chinese ships that passed through. Different times starting February up to this time. Four times 'yan," Lorenzana said in a speech before the Philippine Coast Guard.

The area referred to is the Sibutu Strait, an internationally-recognized shipping lane near the islands of Manuk Mangkaw and Simunu near Malaysia.

The Defense chief added he had asked the Marines commander to confirm the passage of the Liaoning Chinese aircraft carrier several weeks ago, but said it did not pass.

"For as long as they are not doing wrong or anything illegal, then they can pass through because it is allowed.. allowed for them to pass," he said.

Talking to reporters after the speech, Lorenzana said he talked to Chinese envoy to Manila Zhao Jianhua during the day of the State of the Nation Address to inform Philippine authorities of the passage,

"He said that in the future they will require those ships to inform the embassy, the Chinese embassy here in Manila about intended passage in Sibutu and they will inform us," he said.

China has beefed up its naval presence in waters near the Philippines, most especially in the South China Sea where it asserts its historical nine-dash line claim.

CNN Philippines Correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.